A’s demote former All-Star Ryan Cook to Triple-A

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Ryan Cook struggled somewhat down the stretch last season and allowed 13 runs in five spring training appearances, so the A’s have demoted the former All-Star reliever to Triple-A.

Cook has a 2.77 ERA and 204 strikeouts in 198 career innings and has even served as Oakland’s closer on occasion, but he simply hasn’t looked right in camp and the A’s would rather he attempt to get back on track in the minors.

Here’s what manager Bob Melvin told Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com:

We’ll try to get him down there and get these things worked out, because Cookie has been an instrumental piece to our success. We just felt he needed a break from this, go down and work on things. Sometimes something like that can rejuvenate you. Certainly it wasn’t fun for anybody, especially him. He was shocked, and I don’t blame him. But we expect him to be back here, we really do.

Oakland will also begin the season without injured closer Sean Doolittle, so offseason pickup Tyler Clippard will play a key role early on.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.